Risotto is seriously intimidating to make. I mean, c’mon…how many competitors on Chopped get destrominated because they try and fail…miserably…to make risotto. But I love it enough that I took the plunge and gave it a shot.
So, listen, I’m here to tell you it isn’t that bad…this was such a nice winter meal that was definitely do-able…on a weeknight, no less. Just takes a little extra TLC. It’s one of those dished that requires your full attention whilst cooking–so I’d recommend you have everything ready to go before you start–veggies chopped, broth hot, wine glass filled…
Oh, and for all the radicals out there, yes, I am fully aware that this recipe has dairyand–*gasp*!–rice. Maybe those aren’t part of your Paleo, but they’re sure as hell part of mine. I eat rice. And cheese (sometimes). Deal with it.
For everyone else…enjoy! There is also a couple of substitutions to make if you want to keep this bad boy dairy free.
Easy Butternut Squash Risotto
1 1/2 c arborio rice
5 c chicken stock
1/4 c butter**, divided in half
1 onion, diced
2 portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 c diced butternut squash
1 t sage
1 t thyme
1 c shredded Parmesan cheese**
To make the squash easier to work with, place the cubes into the food processor and pulse 3 or 4 times to get them nice and fine.
Heat the stock in a saucepan to a light simmer. Have a ladle handy.
On a burner next to the saucepan of stock, heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add half the butter.
Sautee the onion, squash, garlic, mushrooms, squash, sage, and thyme for about 5 or 6 minutes, or until the onions are transluscent.
Add the other half of the butter and the rice.
Stir the rice and the veggies to coat for a couple of minutes and add enough stock to just cover it.
Continue to stir and as the rice absorbs the liquid, add another ladle-full of stock.
Repeat this process for about 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
Stir in the Parmesan.
Serve as a side or as the main event.
**To keep this recipe dairy free, simply omit the cheese and use coconut oil in place of butter. Add a little coconut milk to create a creamy texture.
You can also call it “Satsumaimo Pie” if you want to sound cultured or something.
So I had my appendix out on Monday and that kinda ruined my week off. There’s only so much time you can spend on the couch high on Percocet and creeping through the bowels of Netflix before you start getting a little stir crazy. Then you try to get up and remember why that was not a good idea. I seriously look like I got gutted like a trout. Moving on.
I was and still am, however, determined to make it to Thanksgiving tonight since it’s the first year I’ve lives where my family does in…a long time. My aunt asked me to bring a dessert, so yesterday I made this pie. Nothing crazy but I thought the Japanese sweet potatoes (aka Birthday Cake potatoes) would be a fun twist on my favorite pie ever and something a little more creative than plain old pumpkin pie).
After I was done, I slept for 4 1/2 hours. Clearly still feeling amazing. Then I ate some pie. Felt better. Went back to sleep. It was a good day.
*If you can’t find Japanese sweet potatoes, regular orange ones are fine.
*For 100% dairy free, full-fat coconut milk can sub for the cream.
Anyone get the Animorphs reference? Please? Am I seriously that uncool?
With Fall in full swing, I need warm, gooey, cinnamon-y things in my life. Pumpkin obviously came first but I gotta show some love to other Fall flavors, too, ya know? And thanks to my friend Brittany–who ALWAYS asks me to make her cinnamon rolls and I promise to do it and then never do–I made cinnamon roll…cupcakes. Same thing. Except you can put an obnoxious amount of frosting on a cupcake. Then spoon more frosting into your face-hole right out of the bowl. Alone. At 2 am.
Ross told me these were the best cupcakes I’ve ever made. He says that a lot, but I’ll pretend like they really are. At the very least this is MY favorite frosting EVER…I mean brown butter? And BOURBON? ZOMG. I could get drunk off these cupcakes. Again.
So I’m finally back east with the fam…and just like every year, Mother’s Day and my dad’s birthday fell right next to each other and we had a nice little celebration. Good dinner, good wine, good cake.
Ah, cake. My favorite dessert in the whole wide world is cake. OK, no…it’s the frosting. But you know, cake is the mighty vessel upon which it rests in all its gooey glory.
So carrot cake has always been my Dad’s favorite (and, incidentally, mine) so it’s seriously been the go-to every year. No, really…every year. So I had big shoes to fill since I’m pretty sure everyone we know has had their had some year or another…some years we ordered special from fancy bakeries…some years we totally forgot and ended up grabbing a pre-made one at Safeway…and, obviously, Mom has made more than a few and it felt like every year she’d do something a little different (nuts vs. no nuts…pineapple vs. no pineapple…etc).
I know generally how to make a carrot cake…but just like making a Paleo version of anything you love, there’s a lot of pressure not to f*ck it up when cooking for your very-not-Paleo-family.. I’m moving away from my general formula for cakes and cupcakes and muffins and other bread-y baked goods to be, you know, creative and all…and also just to experiment with texture. I’m a huge believer in changing up your repertoire and trying new things in the kitchen since, sure…you might have a tried and true recipe for Mom’s Apple Pie that might be “good,” but not “great”? I’ve had waaaaaay to many of someone’s mom’s or grandmothers cookies that they swore were the best ever…unmatched past, present, and future…and honestly, dude, not THAT great. Sorry.
I based this cake recipe off of the infamous vanilla cake over at Pretty in Primal. To date, it really is the best plain vanilla cake I’ve had, and like any good white or yellow cake recipe, you can personalize it in a million different ways. The texture is moist…like stick-to-you-fork-moist. Most of my cakes and muffins of old are primarily coconut flour and egg-based, which is fine, but like I said I wanted to get crazy and see what happened.
At the very least, I knew that if the cake sucked, I could always hide it under gobs of cream cheese frosting. That’s pretty much my solution for everything in life.
But in case you were wondering, it didn’t suck. In fact, Dad went back for seconds and said it was one of the best carrot cakes he’d every had…period. For a man who’d had it every year for his birthday for…a lot of years…that sure made my day
Paleo Carrot Cake w/ Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Cake:
1/2 c Coconut Flour
1/2 c Almond Meal
1/2 t Salt
1/2 t Baking Soda
1/2 c Maple Syrup (or honey)
2 t Vanilla
3/4 c Full Fat Coconut Milk
3 Large Carrots, grated
1/2 t Cinnamon
1/2 t Nutmeg
1/2 c Chopped Walnuts
1/2 c Chopped Dates
For the Frosting:
8 oz Cream Cheese
1/4 c Maple Syrup
3 T Full Fat Coconut Milk
Note: This recipe made one, 9-inch cake layer that I split in two. Double the recipe for additional layers.
Whisk all of your dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Add the wet ingredients (except the cream cheese, extra syrup, and coconut milk for the frosting) and beat on low with an electric mixer until everything is well combined.
Pour into a greased and parchment-lines baking pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool completely and frost with the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.
To make the frosting, bring the cream cheese to room temperature and beat well with the maple syrup and coconut milk.